New Businesses Emerge as Demand for Organic Grows

The first fast-food chain certified organic by the USDA is receiving rave reviews. The Organic Coup, conceived by former Costco executive, Erica Welton, opened its first location in Pleasanton, California in 2015. The menu is simple: organic, air-chilled chicken fried in coconut oil and served as a sandwich, wrap or bowl.

In a recent article in Business Insider, Welton said, "We saw this huge shift happening at Costco with people purchasing more and more organic food." While the increased availability of organic ingredients is great, Welton provides a convenient organic option for those times when cooking is out of the question.

Welton plans to open 25 more restaurants over the next 14 months, mainly on the West Coast, eventually expanding to Las Vegas, New York City, Austin and Chicago. Kudos to Welton for starting Organic Coup workers at $14 an hour, well above the $9 minimum wage in California.

Thrive Market offers another alternative: an online shopping club for organic food sold at wholesale prices, shipped within a day. Users pay a membership fee for the convenience of shopping at home anytime. In 2016, they plan to launch IOS and Android apps that will allow customers to shop by phone.

Similar to Costco, but without the bulk quantities, Thrive is able to charge wholesale prices for products by using membership fees to cover operation and fulfillment costs. IThrive offers one free membership to a low-income family for every paid membership, and has added a feature that allows people to apply directly through the website for a free membership.

Consumer demand for organically produced goods in natural food and conventional grocery stores continues to show double-digit growth according to the USDA. New outlets such as the Organic Coup, Thrive Market and others will also drive demand, providing market incentives for US farmers across a broad range of products.